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My Journey aboard Avalon Tapestry II

First Impressions:
We boarded Tapestry II and were immediately greeted by warm and welcoming staff, the first thing that struck me about the ship was the nice ‘homely’ atmosphere. Check in was very smooth and within a matter of minutes we were in our stateroom unpacking. The ship had 4 decks with a lift, small gym and salon, sun deck, restaurant and various grades of stateroom. If you were looking for a quiet space during the day, the club lounge was perfect. You could have a coffee while reading the paper, challenge your fellow cruisers to a board game or simply watch the wonderful scenery go by (all the while enjoying some homemade cookies, pastries and cakes.) The heart of the ship in the evening was the main bar where pre and post dinner drinks can be enjoyed while chatting with your fellow cruisers.
Little History of the ship:
Avalon Tapestry ll was launched in 2015 and accommodates 128 guests comfortably. It offers 2 full decks of Panorama suites. Each Panorama suite is an impressive 200 square feet and featuring wall-to-wall panoramic windows that transform your stateroom into a unique open-air balcony which was fantastic. I really enjoyed my stateroom and liked spending time there getting ready and relaxing watching the fantastic river views. I have to say hands down the beds on there were quite possibly one of the most comfiest beds I have ever slept on – I am not sure if it was the mattress topper or the actual mattress but I probably had some of the best nights sleep there!! I also got the chance to view the other 2 staterooms on board the vessel. Firstly the Lower Deck Deluxe stateroom with 2 head height rectangle windows on the river level which let fantastic natural light into your stateroom. It was very spacious, had plenty of storage and a huge bathroom. The final stateroom on board the ship was the Royal Suites of which there are 2 and we had the chance to view number 308. My impression was WOW what a room! It offers a wall-to-wall Panoramic window measuring 11ft and opens to create a large open-air balcony with spacious seating area. All bathrooms have premium bath products from L’occitane which were fabulous and refilled as you used them.
Dining on board the ship:
Breakfast and lunch is served in the main restaurant on the lower deck and has tables of 4, 6 and 8. It also offers fantastic panoramic windows that wraps round the dining area letting you enjoy the spectacular river views while you dine. Both meals are buffet style with open dining and if you are late riser, you can enjoy continental breakfast in the main lounge. Evening dinner is served at 7:00pm and is again open seating. The 5 course dinner menu is displayed on the TV at reception for that night, and Avalon can easily cater for dietary requirements if advised in advance. I also had the chance to have full tour of the galley and learn how they prepare the meals. All meals for the evening dinner are cooked to order for all customers and each meal is prepared by the head chef and his assistance, it was really fascinating to see behind the scene of the kitchen. What struck me was the size of it – it was so so small and to cater for that many people that many times a day must have been quite a feat!! The wine that is included with dinner is plentiful and if you don’t like the choice they have then they will happily swop. Also the bread that is served in the evening is always served with something unusual like garlic spread, pesto butter or olive tapenade and they taste amazing – I have never eaten so much bread in my life!!
The entertainment on board was fairly low key but mixed and of a very high standard. The pianist, Milan, also sang and played the saxophone. We also enjoyed a string quartet and vocalist that boarded the ship on separate evenings.
Excursions Included:
My cruise was the week long Paris to Normandy sailing. The first day was in Paris and we set sail during dinner, with the first full port of call being Vernon-Les Andelys. Then we sailed onto Caudebec for 2 nights, Rouen, Conflans and finally back to Paris again. We had the choice of 2 excursions daily which were both interesting and diverse. Avalon also understands not everyone wants to go at the same pace; you are on holiday after all, so offer different speeds on their tours. All tours are included in the cruise fare and come with audio guide, bottle of water and a fantastic local guide with a wide range of knowledge. Avalon offer optional excursions which you can book and pay for, information on these are provided with your final documents.
My Personal highlight:
The service on board the ship was exceptional, the staff could not do enough for you and there was a very relaxing atmosphere. I enjoyed the town of Caudebec and the scenery so much, some of my finest hours were spent sitting with the balcony open watching the scenery go by, it is quite possibly some of the most relaxing hours I spent!! The best part of my cruise was the included excursion to the Normandy landing beaches where I visited some of the most poignant sights of World War II. It was very emotional and I shed few tears, I admit to not really knowing much about Wolrd War II but the excursion gave me much more knowledge and as a result I feel as if I want to find out more about this time since I have come home. The cruise and this excursion allowed me to pay my respects while still enjoying a beautiful part of a wonderful country.


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